Podcasts for Perspective: Three Shows Raising Global Inequality Awareness Since podcasting began to take off, this audio medium has really carved out a significant space for itself in American media with its on-demand, radio-like content. According to Edison Research’s 2018 podcast statistic report, 26 percent of Americans (73 million people) listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. Podcasts are easily available online or through any smart device and target virtually every interest and topic, including global inequality awareness.

Whether someone is new to podcasts or a regular listener, they are a great way to learn new things, expand people’s interests and gain perspectives on different topics. Below, are three suggestions for globally-minded podcasts. Though each of these podcasts has a different focus, they all contribute to raising awareness for global inequality issues relating to poverty.

Hacking Hunger

Produced by World Food Program U.S.A., Hacking Hunger shares stories about hunger from around the globe. Hacking Hunger connects listeners to the voices of aid workers and families involved with the World Food Program. By highlighting direct experiences, this podcast helps listeners imagine the realities of hunger from refugee camps to conflict zones.

Rarely longer than 30 minutes, Hacking Hunger offers concise, yet poignant stories from the frontlines of countries combatting hunger. According to the M.J. Altman, editorial director at World Food Program U.S.A., Hacking Hunger is most successful when it moves and motivates its listeners. By bringing attention to hunger issues worldwide, Hacking Hunger both raises awareness about and generates support for hunger relief funds.

Circle of Blue Podcasts

Circle of Blue is a non-profit, resource advocacy group that focuses on sanitation and water. Circle of Blue’s podcast covers water issues in depth by looking at how water relates to energy production, food, health and environmental topics. Though Circle of Blue has several programs (among them H2O Hotspots and What’s Up with Water), they are combined under “Circle of Blue WaterNews” on various podcast provider platforms.

With news-like quality and tone, Circle of Blue updates listeners on water issues worldwide. This podcast combines case-specific stories with connections to larger trends over time. Circle of Blue is a good podcast for listeners who want to explore how access to water contributes to inequality worldwide. Keep an eye out especially for the H2O Hotspot episodes, which feature in-depth stories on areas in danger of water-related conflicts.

Global Dispatches

From the team of the U.N. Dispatch, Global Dispatches covers foreign policy issues and world affairs. The show highlights policy-makers, aid workers, development experts and global affairs leaders through in-depth interviews. The varying content promotes global inequality awareness in many fields. For example, recent topics have included the link between poverty and vaccines, political conflict in Haiti and “energy poverty” in developing countries.

Despite the diverse content, the editor of the U.N. Dispatch blog, Mark Leon Goldberg, hosts the podcast and gives it a consistent voice between episodes. Global Dispatches contextualizes the central topic of each episode very well, making it easy to understand without prior knowledge. Episodes are generally fewer than 45 minutes long and updated frequently. This podcast is ideal for listeners who want to keep up-to-date with a diverse range of foreign policy issues.

Podcasts are a great way to stay informed when it seems like there are not enough hours in the day because they can be listened to on a walk or in the car. Listening to these podcasts (and others like it) can help people stay updated on different aspects of global issues and poverty as well as increase their global inequality awareness.

Morgan Harden
Photo: Flickr

Everyone gets his or her news somewhere, but some sources are more reputable than others. Currently, six corporations control 90 percent of the media. On some of these stations, such as CNN or Fox News, owned by Time Warner and NewsCorp, respectively, there is little to no variety in the political ideologies promoted. However, political podcasts are usually smaller entities that aim to stay independent and provide multiple perspectives. I am an avid listener of several political podcasts and  use them for my news. Here are my top 10 political podcasts.

  1. My History Can Beat Up Your Politics with Bruce Carlson
    Coming in at the top of the list is Carlson’s interesting take on cable news’ relentless portrayal of all news as “BREAKING NEWS.” With terrorist attacks, issues of race, war and more, My History Can Beat Up Your Politics shows that most, if not all, issues are rooted in history. The podcast claims the makers “smash and bash the politics of today with a healthy dose of history.”
  2. The United States of Anxiety
    The presidential election of 2016 was so polarizing, so different and so unprecedented that many podcasts were dedicated to it entirely, and this is one of them. The United States of Anxiety makes it its duty to provide perspective in a time full of shouting, negativity and closed minds. The podcast brought voices from all sides of every debate, from politicians to people on the streets. While the podcast ended with the close of the presidential election, listening to it now provides a retrospective look into the election to figure out what happened and why.
  3. Politico’s Nerdcast
    This is simple, soft and relatively unbiased podcast on the current goings-on in politics by one of the most well-respected publications there is. Politico’s Nerdcast is hosted by individuals who would sit up on a Friday night and dissect political polls. They are heavily invested in politics and geek out about it just for you.
  4. Crooked Media’s Pod Save The World
    American foreign policy is important to The Borgen Project. We need to know all about it, we need to follow it and we fight for the improvement of it. For those who want to follow something that focuses entirely on foreign policy, Crooked Media’s Pod Save The World is just for you. It’s an honest and brash commentary on and analysis of everything foreign policy.
  5. Common Sense with Dan Carlin
    A frustrated, critical, cynical, sharp man is Dan Carlin, and his podcast follows suit. If you find yourself annoyed by the mass media relays, Carlin’s Common Sense may be an oddly pleasant choice for you. A self-anointed “Martian” to politics, Carlin’s independent viewpoint is never lacking. He is unabashedly honest.
  6. Slate’s Political Gabfest
    If you want professionals who have been living politics their whole life to tell you what is going on, Slate’s Political Gabfest is where you need to look. With legendary names like David Plotz, Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson, the podcast has its resumé ready to go.
  7. KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center
    At fourth on my top 10 political podcasts list, KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center is what I always look for: biased but fair commentary and analysis. As the podcast name suggests, it has three hosts, all self-proclaimed to be in one area of the political spectrum, and they tackle the week’s events. It’s arguably one of the best podcasts to listen to if you want reasonable perspectives from any side.
  8. NPR Political
    While I’m all for perspectives, sometimes I need simple, unbiased reporting. NPR Political is just that. The shows can even be around 10 minutes of just reports from the week. If you’re stuck in traffic and need a quick update, this show is for you.
  9. Crooked Media’s Pod Save America
    At second on my top 10 political podcasts and started by four people who have more than enough experience in the White House, Crooked Media’s Pod Save America is all for biased opinions. It feels like a real conversation you would be having with your own friends, except these people are more knowledgeable. Pod Save America promises “a no-bullshit conversation about politics.”
  10. Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! is number 1 on my top 10 political podcasts for the sheer reason that it is what I believe corporate mass media should be. Democracy Now! is an unbiased news show that is quick, reports the news of the day, brings pundits who provide their own commentary or debate against other pundits and brings focus to grassroots organizations. From focusing on the Occupy movement to covering events overseas, Democracy Now! never misses a beat. However, the most incredible thing about the podcast is that it is run entirely on viewer donations. It owes no allegiance to any corporation or ideology. The makers are completely unsullied by money, so they can report the truth and only the truth.

James Hardison

Photo: Flickr